Florida considering significant changes to release of sex offenders

When a high-profile crime occurs in a community, there will often be questions concerning the actions of police and prosecutors. Residents want to know why these individuals were not doing more to prevent these types of crimes from happening. This often increases the pressure on legislators to put tougher penalties in place for those convicted of some of the most dangerous offenses.

Recently, two high-profile sex crimes in Florida have led to a comprehensive examination of the laws dealing with individuals convicted of these crimes. The two sex offenders in these cases were alleged to have murdered child victims after being released from prison after being deemed not likely to commit additional offenses.

The outcry over these crimes has led state senators to introduce several new bills that would change the release requirements currently in place for sex offenders. The first of these changes would increase sentences for crimes involving child victims, and would prohibit these offenders from gaining any early-release privileges while serving their sentences.

The next bill would require individuals to report information about vehicles, Internet usernames and passwords, passports as well as other additional information that could be used to identify the offender. This would allow communities to be able to better track those who have been convicted of sex crimes.

Another potential change would add prosecutors and law enforcement members to the committee that analyzes whether or not an individual is likely to reoffend. This is in addition to a separate bill that would require civil commitments if two or more of these panel members decide that the individual is a sexually violent predator. These committees examine certain offenders who have completed their prison sentences, but must be determined to be unlikely to reoffend before they are allowed to be released.

These bills have all recently been proposed in the Senate, and similar measures may be introduced in the House as well. Florida legislators have committed to revamping the state's current sex offender laws, and it could mean serious problems for those convicted of these types of offenses.

While you may feel like you have no options at this time, you need to know that there are steps that you can take to protect yourself from these accusations. You have rights, and it is important that the police respect those rights during their investigations. You do not have to answer their questions.

With the punishments and consequences of a sex crimes conviction seemingly under constant review, you need to offer an aggressive defense if you have been charged with one of these offenses. Speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney before you discuss anything with law enforcement officers or prosecutors.

An attorney will be able to work with you from the moment you learn you are under investigation all the way through trial, if necessary. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions about your situation, and receive answers that allow you to make educated decisions regarding your future.